Fur Flies At GOP Guber Debate

Romano Republican debate
Republican State Chair J.R. Romano ganders the GOP from side stage. Image by Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror.

What happened to Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment? Though shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican has gone right in the crapper. This is one crazy guber cycle.

From Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror:

Eleven candidates were invited, nine accepted and two bickered to the point that another proclaimed the night “an embarrassment.” And so it went Wednesday in the second of the Connecticut Republican Party’s five monthly showcases of the politicians vying to become the GOP nominee for governor in 2018.

With no practical way to thin the field, the Republicans are facing a long and bumpy road to their nominating convention in May at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, whose tribal owners are engaged in a multi-million-dollar lobbying battle at the state legislature over MGM Resorts International’s proposal to build a gambling resort in Bridgeport.

… The candidates sat on stools arrayed across the stage of RHAM High School: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, businessman Steve Obsitnik, former U.S. Comptroller General Dave Walker, Lumaj, state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, state Sen. Toni Boucher and Mike Handler, a top city finance official in Stamford.

Full story here.



  1. Below is from The Connecticut Mirror:
    “GOP takes nine gubernatorial contenders on a bumpy test drive”

    By: Mark Pazniokas | January 11, 2018

    Unlike Republicans in the past two gubernatorial campaigns, when the state GOP seemed reluctant to confront state-employee unions over the cost of wages and benefits, most of these candidates signaled they would seek radical changes in pension and retire-health benefits, which are now set in collective bargaining.

    The Republicans want them set by statute, with several saying the state should abolish pensions and emulate the private sector by moving to a defined contribution plan.

    “We have to get out of the pension business,” Handler said. “We’re beyond reform.”

    “We can no longer afford the benefits system that we have,” Boughton said.

    Again, “the state should abolish pensions and emulate the private sector by moving to a defined contribution plan,” what job in the private sector do you emulate for firefighters and police officers who put their lives on the line every day and who are on call on their off days in of emergencies?

  2. Ron Mackey, the reporter is wrong–Republican Tom Foley was committed to confronting state-employee unions and other fiscal matters. This subject is about state employees not about city and town police and firefighter pensions. You obviously haven’t read, understood or care enough to pay attention to what JML has been writing about recently, actually for a long time. Our legislative and local leaders believe that Brigeport’s pension problem has been solved by bonding $93 million to keep the pyramid game going. Should we wait for the State to kick the cost of teacher’s pension back to the municipalities as Malloy wanted to?

    Here’s a recent quote you may be “happier” about:

    “I’m too young to retire,’’ said Nappier, who turns 67 in June and earns $110,000 per year. “I can’t afford to retire. My pocketbook can’t afford it, and neither can my brain. I intend to take some rest, and then get back out there and hit the pavement and try to make a difference once again in the lives of people.’’

    The problem is that she has made a negative difference on the lives of all the people in Connecticut to the point that she herself can’t live on her state pension.


  3. Thank you Ron and Joel for bringing to light more information on government pension plans that continue to be the current form of funding retirement fringe benefits for most state and municipal employees.

    Contrary to the quote from Denise Nappier, her admission that she cannot afford to retire reflects poorly on her ability to handle her own retirement planning while sitting for years with public pensions as a management responsibility. She has a pension that provides her a rate of return and mortality guarantee against those risks, funded by CT taxpayers, that would not be present were she retiring from most CT private employers who terminated their “defined benefit pension plans” years ago and replaced them with Defined Contribution Plans. The most common offering is called a 401K plan. Investment results and risks are faced by the employee who later becomes a retiree. And the threat of mortality is also born by the employee/retiree. A lengthy life after retiring at 65 with death at 95 causes a City or State retiree no concern at this time because the benefit is paid until the last beneficiary is dead. A lengthy life with mixed or poor investment results for a retiree may leave them with inadequate levels of income and a hope that death overtakes a 401k fund with no remaining assets.

    In April 2017 MERS, the state plan for municipal employees, informed the public that over 10 years it had returned 4.74% earnings, very much short of the actuary assumption of 8%. When such assumptions are so far off, public liabilities increase, even in a well funded plan like MERS, relative to TRS (Teachers) and SERS (State employees). When liabilities increase, the contributors to such plans must increase amounts as actuaries indicate.

    That is what has happened with Ganim1 Plan A where $17 Million of necessary annual added funding in 2018 not contemplated in 2000 when Plan A started, becomes necessary today. And it will increase by 5% annually for years to come. If MERS generates actuarial liabilities similar increased funding will come due, something our local legislators do not understand/have not listened to actuaries/have consumed only happy talk from Finch and Ganim2. Where is the person holding the guarantee letter that $90 Million plus current bond interest is the total expense for public safety overtime? Why is City so slow to get an increase from External Overtime Contractors to cover the expense of retirement benefits payable for overtime earnings? Simple question? Time will tell.

  4. Great observation JML regarding Denise Nappier, it is sad that these
    People sit on a state level and more telling on a city level.
    The old story of the lunatics are running the asylum and I’m paying for it, holds true again!

  5. Ron Mackey, Bridgeport Police and fire retires are in the Municipal Employees Retirement System now. Municipalities pay in to it (City taxpayers)and the State Treasurer’s office manages it.

  6. Ron, Joel, et al,
    There exist multiple plans that attend to retirement benefits for former employees. They include Plan A for Police and Fire retirees and their immediate surviving spouses as beneficiaries. No currently active employee is in this plan making contributions. The public is paying $30 Million annually from Police and Fire operating budgets towards the bond, but also an additional annual contribution (not contemplated by Ganim1 in 2000 or acknowledged by Ganim2 officially in the past two years) of $18 Million increasing at a rate of 5% annually. The plan is managed by the City with Finance Director and Treasurer active in quarterly meetings at City Hall with investment advisors.
    The City has Plan B Police and Plan B Fire plans still in existence for those who for one reason or another (disability, retirement from department but not from work, etc.) and handled by the City in form similar to past Plan B practices. An active duty officer was part of the pension administration process.
    MERS is the state plan that is funded by City and employees including Police and Fire since contract year 2012.

    I have written for years about the Plan A meetings that are held and my surprise that more retirees do not attend to understand the thinking of City leaders. Ron, Don, Andy, and many others could get clarification by showing up and asking questions, if there are matters that confuse.

    Ganim2 often talks about his concept of getting lots of folks around a table and tap into the knowledge, experience and wisdom present. But I doubt that he means that because he does not do that as a regular matter. The experience of Fire and Police Plan B previous to the change to MERS demonstrated good sense from those pension boards and better results than Plan A showed. The move to MERS to get earned overtime inclusion as a base for benefits ignored the good results and will cost $200 Million or more over the years, a number that fiscal leaders do not want to mention…..and if earnings do not meet assumptions then actuaries will again determine that more City contributions are required. The folks sitting at such tables should include taxpayers AND potential beneficiaries. In such way primary issues are revealed and discussed. Time will tell.


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